“Money Monster” is actor-turned-director Jodie Foster’s new movie. It is about a very popular television show host Lee Gates (George Clooney) who advises the audience to buy or sell stocks and does it so well that people are ready to put all their lives’ savings in stocks as per his advice. Director of the show Patty Fenn (Julia Roberts) and Gates hugely benefit from the high ratings of the show but the real beneficiaries are the companies and corporate sector, who sometimes engineer crashes to defraud the investors. In fact sometimes the poor investors lose everything. One such victim, daily wage worker Kyle Budwell (played by Jack O’Connell), decides not to take it lying down. He turns up at the live show, with a suicide jacket and a gun, to expose those who took away all his savings and inheritance money. He takes control of the show at gun-point and makes Gates wear the suicide jacket. He demands to know how the company whose stocks he bought on Gates’ advice, suddenly crashed. The plot is much more than a Wall Street thriller. While the whole world watches the horrifying spectacle on their TV screens, the relationships and roles in the studio reverse when Gates realises that he was used by the company to earn billions in a fake crash. He now becomes the crusader, while the audience still looks at him as the victim. Banks and the corporate businesses, it seems, control the world; the entire financial system, influx and outflow of money, paper money, liquid money, electronic money. These depositories of the world wealth can make or break national economies, start or end market crashes, without them it seems the system will fall apart. In the absence of a communist challenge, they are the ultimate power. “Money Monster” is daring. It is exciting and entertaining but has a strong message at the same time. It starts with the dancing pranks of the show host, Gates, but then we find out whose tune he is dancing to, the shady and devious IBIS company head Camby (played by Dominic West). Blaming computer glitch for the crash is a smoke-screen which is used by bankers to justify disasters. The money in this hi-tech world is just a system of electrical waves, passing through billions of miles of wire and cable. Hard money is just a sham, a hoax. Gates, initially a maverick, rating-obsessed anchor, gradually takes on the role of the protagonist. Although Kyle carries the gun and remote button, Gates starts calling the shots. How to earn a billion dollars or how to lose them within seconds…. Similarly Kyle first appears to be the villain, but turns out to be a victim of the real villain IBIS owner Camby. In fact, the real villain is the system, which allows banks and corporates to rob the public with the connivance of the establishment. Like the stock markets, fortunes keep rising and falling by seconds. Gates realises that in spite of the high ratings of his show, he’s worth nothing. When he pleads the viewers to save his life by buying shares, the response is shocking. The stock drops. And so does his confidence in the system. The multimillionaire anchor realises how flawed the system is and that is when the plot goes through a radical transformation. Towards the end, we find the link between big business and politics. Camby had multiplied his profits by engaging in politics in South Africa and orchestrating a miners’ strike. Don’t we all know the integral connection between big money, the arms industry and the wars around the world? Moral of the story! Why are we slaves to the banks, the media gurus, to greed, to war? Isn’t war a ploy to keep the mighty arms machine running? Aren’t the wars in the Middle East about oil and money? Aren’t the wars in Iraq, Libya and Syria theatres where Americans, the Russians, the Europeans, the Saudis protect and further their political and financial interests? Was the toppling of Saddam about WMFs or oil? For that matter, is the ever-deepening crisis in Pakistan really about morality, faith or peace or is it a cover used by the international and domestic politicians and their financial backers about greed, corruption and war-mongering?